Ha Ha Ha! Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets Damage Arteries.

Oh, those silly low-carb diets. Will they ever learn! Here’s more bad news for low-carb. A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found low-carb, high-protein diets damage arties:

Diets based on eating lots of meat, fish and cheese, while restricting carbohydrates have grown in popularity in recent years.

But the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in the US found such habits caused artery damage in tests on mice.

The researchers and independent experts both agreed a balanced diet was the best option…

…Lead researcher Anthony Rosenzweig said the findings were so concerning to him that he decided to come off the low-carb diet he was following.

He added: "Our research suggests that, at least in animals, these diets could be having adverse cardiovascular effects.

"It appears that a moderate and balanced diet, coupled with regular exercise, is probably best for most people."

And in 2007, a study found low-carb diets, like Atkins, cause long-term damage to blood vessels. Dr. Fuhrman is no fan of high-protein diets, all that saturated fat and insufficient plant nutrients increases risk of heart disease and cancer:

The Atkins diet (and other diets rich in animal products and low in fruits and unrefined carbohydrates) is likely to significantly increase a person's risk of colon cancer. Scientific studies show a clear and strong relationship between cancers of the digestive tract, bladder, and prostate with low fruit consumption. What good is a diet that lowers your weight but also dramatically increases your chances of developing cancer?

A meat-based, low-fiber diet, like the one Atkins advocates, includes little or no fruit, no starchy vegetables, and no whole grains. Following Atkin's recommendations could more than double your risk of certain cancers, especially meat-sensitive cancers, such as epithelial cancers of the respiratory tract.1 For example, a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute looked at lung cancer in nonsmoking women so that smoking would not be a major variable. Researchers found that the relative risk of lung cancer was six times greater in women in the highest fifth of saturated-fat consumption than those in the lowest fifth.

I asked Dr. Fuhrman to comment on this study. He chuckled at the news, saying, “This study definitely proves once and for all that mice should not be eating the Atkins diet. They should get Jenny Craig. Furthermore, vegetables make pigs fat, so maybe we shouldn't eat them either.”

Image credit: jaxxon

Low-Fat Diets Heart Healthier After Weight-Loss

New findings in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association reveal diets low in saturated fat are healthier and help keep LDL, or “bad cholesterol”, in check after someone loses weight. For the study, experts assigned 26 healthy, non-obese diets to one diet, Atkins, South Beach or Ornish, for one month apiece, with the intent of studying biological effects of each diet, specifically cholesterol, blood vessel function and inflammation. Data concluded high-fat diets, like Atkins, raised LDL, but the low-fat, vegetarian Ornish style had the best affect on blood vessel function; Reuters reports.

A low-fat diet, i.e. eating less animal foods and more fruits and veggies, has been proven to not only prevent heart trouble, but reserve it. And just last week, scientists found pomegranates help fight cell inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Also, a previous report observed fad diets, such as high-protein low-carbohydrate, don’t hold up overtime, with dieters gaining back weight after only six months.

High-fat diets, like Atkins, are dangerous. A recent study showed participants eating an Atkins diet plan, consuming 50% saturated fat, performed the worst on blood vessel testing.

Image credit: Andrew Hux

Ha Ha! Atkins Diet Raises Heart Risks, Duh!

More bad news for the Atkins fad, published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association new research reveals the high-protein, i.e. high-saturated, Atkins diet reduces blood vessel dilation, an important factor in heart health. Scientists placed 18 healthy people on three different diets, the Atkins diet (50% fat) and two others lower in saturated fat, 30% and 10%. Four weeks after completing the experiment, Atkins participants performed the worst on a blood vessel test. Atkins Nutritionals had no intelligent rebuttal; HealthDay News reports.

High-fat diets are dangerous. A couple years ago, a study linked the Atkins diet with inflammation linked with heart and artery disease. Atkins himself was overweight and had heart problems. In addition to heart problems, consuming copious amounts of meat, i.e. saturated fat, and little to no fiber and fruit, heightens risk of colon cancer and other cancers. Recently, hotdogs were tied to leukemia risk and red meat with blindness.

In related news, a previous report showed low-carb high-protein diets sap people’s energy and discourage activity and another study revealed Atkins produced only modest weight-loss results with limited sustainability in the long run. Tisk, tisk.

Image credit: jaxxon

Doctors to Disclose Industry Ties...

Last year, The Los Angeles Times reported pharmaceutical companies spend $19 billion a year to woo doctors, dwarfing the $5 million spent on direct advertising to consumers. Some claim this interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. It might be. In 2006, U.S. customers bought $279-billion worth of prescription medications and 80% of that was brand-name products.

This sort of thing happens a lot. Like when Atkins funds a study saying Atkins is good for you. But the Cleveland Clinic is bucking the trend. The hospital has announced plans to disclose business relationships that any of its 1,800 staff doctors and scientists have with drug companies and device-makers, the first prominent medical center to do so; The New York Times investigates.

Eat for Health: Fighting Cardiovascular Disease

This is an excerpt from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat For Health.

The dietary recommendations contained in this book and the elements that make a diet cardio protective have been tested in multiple studies. The evidence here is overwhelming. Let’s first look at the LDL cholesterol lowering effects of various dietary plans, as documented in published medical journal articles.

Eat for Health puts together many different qualities that make a diet cardio-protective and cholesterol-reducing. It’s not just a low-fat or vegetarian way of eating that makes a diet ideal. This eating-style has such dramatic benefits because it is very high in mixed fibers and vegetables and has sterols and other compounds from beans and nuts. This is the only dietary intervention shown to lower cholesterol as effectively as cholesterol-lowering medications. Though the low-fat vegetarian diet did lower LDL cholesterol 16 percent, triglycerides were actually 18.7 percent higher and the LDL/HDL ratio remained unchanged. The results of the study that patterned the recommendations of Eat for Health differed in that the LDL cholesterol was more significantly lowered without unfavorable impact on HDL or triglycerides, reflecting sizable improvement in cardiac risk factors. I have hundreds of patients in my medical practice who have witnessed dramatic reductions in their blood lipids, especially LDL cholesterol, without drugs.

Keep in mind that cholesterol lowering does not adequately explain the protective effect of Eat for Health in cardiovascular disease since the diet has powerful anti-inflammatory and other beneficial biochemical effects. Even though drugs may lower cholesterol, they cannot be expected to offer the dramatic protection against cardiovascular events that nutritional excellence can. The aggressive use of cholesterol-lowering drugs does not prevent most heart attacks and strokes and does not decrease the risk of fatal strokes.7 That is, in clinical trials a significant percentage of patients on the best possible statin therapy still experience events; however, lowering cholesterol with nutritional excellence can be expected to offer dramatically more protection and disease reversal compared to drug therapy, without the risk or expense of prescription medication.
 

1. Bunyard LB, Dennis KE, Nicklas BJ. Dietary intake and changes in lipoprotein lipids in obese, postmenopausal women placed on an American Heart Association Step 1 diet. J Am Diet Assoc 2002 Jan;102(1):52-57.

2. Sharman MJ, Kraemer WJ, Love DM, et al. A ketogenic diet favorably affects serum biomarkers for cardiovascular disease in normal-weight men. J Nutr 2002 Jul;132(7):1879-1885.

3. Barnard ND, Scialli AR, Bertron P, et al. Effectiveness of a low-fat vegetarian diet in altering serum lipids in healthy premenopausal women. Am J Cardiol 2000 Apr 15;85(8):969-972.

4. Bemelmans WJ, Broer J, de Vries JH, et al. Impact of Mediterranean diet education versus posted leaflet on dietary habits and serum cholesterol in a high risk population for cardiovascular disease. Public Health Nutr. 2000 Sep;3(3):273-283.

5. Frolkis JP, Pearce GL, Nambi V, et al. Statins do not meet expectations for lowering low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels when used in clinical practice. Am J Med 2002 Dec 1;113(8):625-629.

6. Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Popovich DG, et al. Effect of a very-high-fiber vegetable, fruit and nut diet on serum lipids and colonic function. Metabolism 2001 Apr;50(4):494-503.

7. Ward S, Lloyd JM, Pandor A, et al. A systematic review and economic evaluation of statins for the prevention of coronary events. Health Technol Assess. 2007;11(14):1-178.